sign in a cave in Laos

5 July 2019

Update on the writing in Gua Datuk, Gng Rapat

The Star on 27 April 2019 had an article about writing found in Gua Datuk, near Ipoh, in Perak, Malaysia. See my blog.

On 2 May The Star had a further article, "Japanese writings found on cave walls". There is an interesting photo of some of the writing with the translation.

"The cave, where the Japanese writings were discovered, is believed to have once housed a temple started by a Nichiren Shu priest.
Nichiren Shu is a Buddhist school in Japan, founded by Nichiren Daishonin, that teaches and practises the Lotus Sutra (Buddha’s teachings) more than 750 years ago.
Experts from the state Park Corporation, Tourism Perak, Minerals and Geoscience, Heritage and Museum departments visited the cave last Friday.
Penang Nichiren Shu Temple committee member and a researcher (for the temple) Alexandar Ang said that he and several members discovered the inscriptions in 2011 after an extensive nine-year search.
This had come about after a priest mentioned to them about an old temple located within a hot spring area in Ipoh.
Ang said the inscriptions were in kanji, a system of Japanese writing using Chinese characters.
There was an inscription stating the “second year of Taisho era in 1913”, which was a form of Japanese calendaring, he said.
“The temple was founded in 1913 by a priest referred to as Rev Baba from Kumamoto, Kyushu in Japan.
“It was named Ganryuzan Hokekyoji, and at a point in time the temple had 290 devotees comprising 80% local Chinese and Indians, 5% Japanese and 15% foreign nationals,” he said.
However, local experts and historians have yet to verify the writings.
There are currently three Nichiren Shu temples in the country – Klang, Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
Ang said the temple served as a place to learn and practise Shakyamuni Buddha’s Dharma.
Another committee member, William Tan, hoped that the writings would be preserved as a living heritage.
He said the cave was mainly used as a temple to propagate Buddhist teachings.
Last week, state Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing had spoken about the writings found in the cave.
The inscriptions, he said, were made before World War I.
He said the soldiers at the cave were probably intelligence troops then.
The cave is not open to the public for now."

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